Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Heart #4: When to Correct

I've shared throughout these posts about our call as parents to show our boys their heart of sin so they can better see the beauty of Christ's great forgiveness for those who are His and how by beating death, He redeemed ALL that our sin destroys. You can read more in post 1, post 2, post 3.

Before I share our full process of correction in sin, I thought I should share how we gauge when to correct. We always look at character and heart, not action! Many things are bad and harmful, but we want our boys to see their sin and seek God. We know that once they are Christ's, their actions will begin to change over time to reflect Him. So we set boundaries to reveal their sin and teach them God's ways. 
"Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it."- Proverbs 22:6
We start showing their sin while they are young. This is to lay a foundation of boundaries and show them how they continually fail. Seeing sin and failure is good because we aren't leaving them hopeless! We always share God's grace and forgiveness for those who are His. This isn't to scare them, but to lovingly show their need and point them to the only One who can and does meet it: Jesus.

When a child is young, we pick three core areas -like 1)coming when we say come 2) not hurting anyone purposefully, and 3) stopping whatever he was doing when Mommy says "No, Buddy." We do this so his entire day isn't spent being corrected and he is clear on our expectations. Other things may be important but we talk through them.

Example: Caleb loves to throw food off his tray even after I tell him "No."He will often look right at me and smile and then throw it over. So I touch his hand (some hit gently or squeeze- we just touch firmly- an NEVER in anger. Never!) and say "No, thank you." He will often cry or scream. This shows me that he knows what I'm saying and prayerfully, he is learning that Mommy is the authority over him (We'll someday teach that it is God who is over everyone and everything, and we submit under Him as His loving agents to show them His loving authority.)

Jimmy is older. Somewhere around 2-ish, we started talking through and going through a whole process with him that gives swift physical consequence but is always to restore him fully and show Christ. We only discipline if he has clearly and directly rebelled against our authority...

Paul and Tedd Tripp both define obedience as "a willing submission to my parents that causes me to do what I am told---
Without Challenge
Without Excuse
Without Delay"

This has been a great tool to help instruct Jimmy so he knows our expectations and he is never surprised or hurt by us as we correct him. He only goes through correction when he directly disobeys us by challenging, excusing, or delaying a boundary we set.

Let me stress again that we aren't trying to correct his behavior just for obedience sake. We are praying that he'll see his heart need and seek Jesus, who gives full and abundant life. Sin always leads to death (though we think as we run towards it that it will bring freedom). Sin gives a hunger for more and yet is never satisfied and we are in bondage. Jesus came to pay the price of death for those who are His. When we seek forgiveness in Him and repent from our sin, we gain freedom. This is what I want my children to know and see and have for themselves. Freedom.

"... you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness. But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed... "- Romans 6:16b-17

I'll share in the next post (Post #5) our entire process of showing that through correction and in Post # 6 how we address bad character...

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